Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Friday

Gerrit Cole had a season-high 12 strikeouts in his last start against the Rangers. Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

What a week it's been for prospect call-ups, with at least one more (Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies) on the way. The best part is -- spoiler alert -- they're all available in well over half of ESPN leagues and play different positions.

If you're behind in pitching heading into the weekend, Friday looks like the best opportunity to make up ground with a nice array of arms available for streaming. Happy prospecting and good luck.

Here's some names to consider, all rostered in fewer than half of ESPN leagues.


Pitchers to stream

Joey Lucchesi (L), rostered in 49 percent of ESPN leagues, San Diego Padres vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: After allowing 23 homers in 130 innings last year, Lucchesi has surrendered only four in the initial 41 1/3 of his sophomore campaign. The southpaw is coming off a solid effort in Coors Field. Back home in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, he draws a Pirates club ranking in the bottom five in wOBA (weighted on base average), K% (strikeout per plate appearance) and HR% (home run per plate appearance) versus lefthanders.

Frankie Montas (R), 49 percent, Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers: Montas gave up four long balls in his first three starts, spanning 17 frames. Over his last five outings, covering 28 1/3 stanzas, he hasn't seen a single pitch leave the yard. Montas has fanned 28 with just seven walks in that spell, providing the Athletics rotation with much needed stability every fifth day. The Tigers rank bottom three in wOBA, K% and HR% with a righty on the hill.

Jordan Lyles (R), 30 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres: Lyles has quietly spun four quality efforts in his seven starts. Lady Luck has lent a hand with a .245 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and a 7.1% HR/FB (home run per fly ball), so a correction is impending. That said, despite some personnel changes, the Padres are the easiest team for righties to fan, helping to explain why their 23rd in wOBA in that scenario.

Merrill Kelly (R), 7 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants: Kelly's return to the majors has been a mixed bag. He's pitched at least seven innings, a rarity in today's landscape in three of his eight outings. However, he's authored a big fly in seven of those efforts, along with punching out just 35 in 46 innings. The Giants offense isn't as weak as expected, but it's still in the bottom half of the league in wOBA versus righties and bottom third in K% and HR%.

Jefry Rodriguez (R), 7 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Baltimore Orioles: A 4.59 xFIP and 4.88 SIERA indicate Rodriguez isn't pitching as well as a 2.92 ERA suggests, but he's giving the Indians much-needed innings in the wake of injuries to Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger. Rodriguez's matchup isn't as enticing as the others, but with a home tilt facing Dylan Bundy, Rodriguez is in play for those looking for a win.

Cole Irvin (L), 4 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies: Irvin was the Triple-A Pitcher of the Year last season, toiling for Lehigh Valley. Even so, he doesn't come with much prospect hype as his fastball rarely touches 90 mph, tempering strikeouts. His inaugural outing went swimmingly, stifling the Royals for seven innings, allowing one run on five hits with five punch outs. Next up are a Rockies team with a history of troubles on the road versus southpaw pitching.


May has been kind to Braves closer Luke Jackson. Through Wednesday, the 27-year old righty has posted a 1.13 ERA and .88 WHIP this month, with a dozen whiffs to only one free pass in eight innings. He's notched four saves over this time yet is still available in 78 percent of ESPN leagues.

The Rays are deploying the familiar duo of Ryne Stanek followed by Yonny Chirinos in their AL East clash with the New York Yankees. Normally, Chirinos is in play but, with other solid options among the standard starters, consider him only as a last resort in the Bronx.

The Rangers are the latest club to join the "rotation revolution" as they plan on using an opener followed by a "primary pitcher" for the first two games of their weekend set with the Cardinals. Tonight, former closer Jose Leclerc looks to get back on track against the top of the order, with Adrian Sampson slotted for the bulk of the middle innings. Using Leclerc to open isn't a sign that he's lost the closer gig for good. In fact, it shows the club is using creative means for Leclerc to gain confidence. Meanwhile, regardless of his role, Sampson has struggled -- and there are no indications things will get better.

Projected game scores



Willians Astudillo (R), 15 percent, Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners (LHP Marco Gonzales): So far this season, Astudillo is 0-for-9 versus lefthanders, but don't let that sway you, he's due to come out of his shell while enjoying the platoon edge. With Mitch Garver on the shelf, it will be interesting how many games "La Tortuga" gets behind the dish as this could help achieve the dozen necessary to retain catcher eligibility in 2020 drafts.

First base

Jared Walsh (L), under 1 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Brad Keller): Justin Bour and his disappointing .584 OPS were mercifully options to Triple-A, paving the way for Walsh to make his MLB debut. The first baseman also dabbles pitching relief, though his fantasy value will come from his bat. Walsh joins Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani as the trip shares first and designated hitter. It remains to be seen how much action Walsh sees so don't go overboard to get him, especially since he lags the other recent call-ups in terms of potential impact. He was sporting an impressive 1.002 OPS for Triple-A Salt Lake before being promoted.

Second base

Keston Hiura (R), 26 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves (LHP Max Fried): While Travis Shaw's early struggles along with hurting his wrist earlier in the week helped accelerate Hiura's promotion, he was forcing the Brewers hand by slashing .333/.408/.698 for Triple-A San Antonio. The 22-year old was named the 2018 Arizona Fall League MVP, rendered more impressive considering Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was also in the league.

Third base

Austin Riley (R), 20 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Jhoulys Chacin): An injury to Ender Inciarte may have paved the way, but like Hiura, Riley was in process of earning his promotion, pounding 15 homers and 10 doubles in 37 games with Triple-A Gwinnett. A third baseman by trade, Riley has been playing a lot of left field, which is where he'll settle, at least for now. Since Ronald Acuna Jr. can man center field, Inciarte's job is in jeopardy of Riley continues mashing. After homering in his second MLB at bat, it appears Riley intends on sticking around.


Nicky Lopez (L), 4 percent, Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels (RHP Matt Harvey): With Whit Merrifield gladly playing more outfield if it helps the Royals win, Lopez will be given the chance to impress at the keystone. He came up as a shortstop but had been playing a lot of second base for Triple-A Omaha in preparation of a call-up. Lopez's game is more speed than pop, fitting right into the Royals style. If he can carry his strong on-base skills to the next level, Lopez can provide a nice boost in the steals department.

Corner infield

Yairo Munoz (R), 1 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Texas Rangers (Bullpen game): Munoz isn't playing regularly, but with an interleague tilt in an American League venue, the Cardinals may opt to give someone like Matt Carpenter a day off from the field, utilizing the DH spot. Plus, you want as much exposure to the Rangers staff as possible and Munoz has produced when called upon, slashing a cool .387/.406/.452 in a limited 32 plate appearances.

Middle infield

Freddy Galvis (S), 13 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox (RHP Ivan Nova): Some veteran presence is needed to today's kiddie corps of hitters. That said, Galvis is ostensibly keeping shortstop warm for Bo Bichette, but a hand injury to the Jays top prospect may delay his MLB debut until later in the year, if not push it to 2020.


Ramon Laureano (R), 19 percent, Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris): Laureano isn't a prospect, but Harold Ramirez draws Jacob deGrom and Yordan Alvarez hasn't been summoned by the Astros, yet. The slick-fielding fly-chaser is in a bit of a rut, fanning nine times in his past 22 trips to the dish. However, Laureano offers a nice power-speed combo against a team not efficient at controlling the running game.

Oscar Mercado (R), 11 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy): Admittedly, this isn't a great setup for Mercado, but let's stick with the theme. The recent call-up has the ability, and hopefully opportunity to be a difference-maker in the stolen base department. The problem is, Bundy's weakness is allowing homers and the Orioles are one of the better teams at nabbing would-be base stealers. Still, if you need help in the category, now is the time to pounce, before Mercado has a multi-steal game.

Willie Calhoun (L), 2 percent, Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Miles Mikolas): Calhoun's long-awaited return to the Show couldn't have been scripted better as he took Jorge Lopez deep in his first 2019 at-bat. Regular playing time will be an issue, especially with Hunter Pence crushing, but if he's in Friday's lineup, Calhoun is in play facing a good, but not dominating righthander.

Hitter matchup ratings